Wednesday, 28 May 2014


On this cold Wednesday I have seen my little Irish friend, who is a bit poorly. We had coffee and then did some therapeutic yarn shopping/squeezing. Love to squeeze new balls of yarn. And to sniff them...weird but that sheepy smell is lovely. This WI appealed and I got some of their acrylic (very soft) in a gorgeous petrol blue for a crochet beret.....

I have done some admin/paperwork and am pleased with it so far. A few more bits and pieces to go.

All the hairy carrots from the bottom of the fridge  have been peeled and are now slowly stewing with some leeks and garlic as a base for a hearty soup. 

I am planning a trip to the gym to continue with my high intensity training on the treadmill, plus squats with kettle bells and some ab crunches...

This evening is haircut evening with the lovely Dawn. 

Hannah's blanket is over the half way mark now and it is literally down hill from here. In TWO weeks I have crocheted miles of yarn.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Bring on the bees

Today Big J rooted out some of the thuggish day lillies that have invaded from next door. They are in a little bed that runs along the fence in our drive. That bed is full of tete a tetes and in his efforts to get rid of roots, the bulbs came up too.

I planted 50 bulbs about 6 years ago. There are hundreds now. Once the area was cleared, I went along a scattered replanted the lot!! Then Em and I went an got some titchy tiny plugs from the local nursery and some marigolds. They have been planted and finally, I went through all my ancient seed packets and put in cosmos, echinacea, achillia, candytuft, sweetpeas, scabiosa, morning glory and some random sunflowers....some may take, some may not, but if they do we should have an interesting border for us and one for the bees.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Ten random things

The lovely Jay of My Family and Other Cricketers put up her ten random things. I thought about mine. OMG. 

1. My grandfather once gave me port to calm my nerves before going for a drive because I was always so car sick. I threw up all over the travel rug in the back seat... 

2. As a child in Nigeria I collected insects. One of my giant moths' eggs hatched and my bedroom was literally crawling with tiny hairy caterpillars. Mum sprayed them with insecticide. I was devastated. 

3. I am not a fan of apes or monkeys. I was bitten by a pet monkey as a kid. Worse, when swimming in a hot spring, a young baboon in the trees above me crapped all over my head and shoulders. I cried, but every adult I went to help for fell about laughing!

4. I have another sister, not my Artist sister, that I am estranged from. It is odd and sad that we have managed so much of our lives to not be in contact. 

5. I once went to the loo on a rickety old bus on a long distance journey and when we hit a bump I fell off the toilet into the aisle with my pants around my ankles. There was a young bloke with a big cowboy hat in the back seat who saw everything. The mutual embarrassment for the rest of the trip was palpable. 700 miles!

6. When I was about 48 I came to understand that the problems I have coping with some things are related to depression and I started taking medication. Since then my 78 year old Dad and 17 year old daughter have also been diagnosed. 

7. It never crossed my mind that I could really love a child that is not mine. I love and adore my stepson and count my blessings that he is part of  our lives. 

8. I have written a book and have seen it on the shelves for sale. What a feeling.

9. When I am very anxious I dream about crocodiles, always lurking, always sinister. My counsellor told me that I am the crocodile. 

10. I genuinely feel that I am blessed to have the life, husband, daughters and stepson I have.  

Friday, 23 May 2014

Raspberry Ripple blanket

Mark II of Hannah's blanket looks like raspberry ripple icecream...gone are the moody blues and sea greens that we talked about. She wanted baby pink....and she got baby pink.
It is aran weight and in a week I am almost half way to it being a square....this is rapid progress for me. But I want to finish it - fast.

The bunting lesson last week was fun, but very few triangles of any form were produced. We even ended up with something that looked like a spider!! There wasn't an opportunity to get photos and in fact the hard working women may have been affronted if their work was put on display. The up side is that they want a re-match to have another go....

I caught up with the lovely JG on Wednesday in Reading. Great day out because the company is so nice. Sadly though I had a sensitive tooth that just got worse. It turned out that it was cracked and after a very uncomfortable night I ended up having the nerve removed yesterday....I am not fazed by dentists, in fact I was so happy to see mine because I knew he would make things better. The relief!

On this long weekend we have a few plans - mine include lots of crochet, painting, some gardening and the odd outing. What fun!

Finally - I have booked to go home to sunny Queensland in July to see my mum and dad. I will also being seeing my wonderful artist sister in Sydney. 

Monday, 12 May 2014

The end of a ripple

For a long time, Princess Hannah's ripple blanket has been in hiding behind the couch. It has been pulled over me and the dog a few times on a chilly night, with all its ends dangling. But work had come to a grinding halt and I was not happy with the thing at all.

To start with, the foundation chain bit went ok but the first row didn't. It was a bumpy, tight, nasty bit of work. It was meant to go on a single bed only it was as wide as a queen sized bed even once all the hills and valleys had been added. And the colours. YUCK. What was I thinking? I thrifted and got bits in charity shops, but the brown, lordy, lordy. At what point does Brown become a feature colour in a young girl's room?

It occured to me to frog it and to discuss with my daughter her idea of a colour palette. Pale colours, toning colours. So over the last three nights the ripple has gone from this:

to this:
and I am not a bit sorry. Some of this yarn will go into the next ripple, a lot won't, including that brown...
In preparation for Mark II, I popped into Attic24 and had a go at Lucy's neat ripple blanket pattern. It is fast. I may use it, but first a definitive plan for the colours. 

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Knots - me in

Ok, so someone likes a bit of my bunting and wants to learn how to make it along with a bunch of their friends. I say sure - no probs. But now I am being all silly about it.

I got the above yarn from ebay for everyone to have a play around with at a FRACTION of the cost of buying it locally - this may seem anti-British industry but we are talking about cotton, most of which is made/dyed in Germany or further east in Europe.  I also chose (slightly) calmer shades to the bunting shown here because I find the brilliant colours a bit too bold. I then decided that I should - wait for this - HAND WIND the above into dinky little balls for those in attendance to have a pile each and therefore avoid potential squabbling over 'favourite' colours!  I even crocheted up a couple of triangles with different size hooks, pulled them out and MEASURED with a tape measure the length for the ideal ball. Fortunately at the last minute this did strike me as being way OTT. 

I have a also amassed a veritable fistfull of crochet hooks, wooden beads, some dodgy old buttons, needles and scissors for the occasion. 

What I cannot seem to get into my pom-pom like brain is that this is not a WORK SHOP and they are not buying KITS. Over a few vinos I hope they get to produce a triangle or two and maybe go home feeling they want to embrace crochet... Honestly, talk about making a rod for one's own back.

Get real woman.

But the yarn is lovely, isn't it? That aubergine is gorgeous in the flesh...

Thursday, 8 May 2014

The finish(ed) line - beads excluded

The bunting for the crochet class is finished, apart from the beads that will go onto each point. The flower idea came from this fabulous blog. The flower pattern was one with a fiddly little picot bit on the end which I abandoned, just didn't like the finish. I wanted something more simple. One might argue that there is enough going on here as it is, but the beads will help keep the points of the bunting grounded - as in gravity will stop them from curling up. Off to the bead shop on Saturday.

There is no way I could have come up with this colour selection on my own. As you know this Planet Penny's Cotton Club yarn, the original version. Thank goodness for people with colour vision.

Also, I am very aware that there are loads of creative people out there who come up with amazing ideas and it  feels a bit freaky to have come up with something similar - and I just hope that folk don't think I am nicking ideas that are not mine. I have written to Pink Milk Jewels to ask her if I can use her tutorial because, while I can crochet a bit of bunting, I can't write a lesson!!!

I am very proud that I have FINISHED something. 


It appears I may have had a migraine. A first. Poor Princess Hannah gets them and they make her very sick.
Self diagnosed, but after coming home with a streaming cold and taking to bed, my headache just got out of proportion. In the wee small hours I was up getting a drink and my vision was odd, things seemed pink! Then it got to the point that I could not move my head and if I did, felt the need to throw up. Hope not to repeat the experience and am putting it down to months of ridiculous amounts of relentless stress at work.

Today there is only a dull ache. No apetite yet, got to be a good thing.

I thought I would do a little crochet in bed and dug out Tom's blanket. The child is nearly a year old and in my typical fashion I have lost interest momentum because there is always someting else to start. It needs to be bigger. A lot bigger, but I got another row added on. I have not blocked it, but think it will work.

Despite being in bed, on a rainy day, perfect for crochet, it is just too much.

Nap time.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Feeling rubbish

After a lovely weekend - even with the meltdown....back at work this morning with that sore throat feeling. By lunch time, eyes and nose were streaming, lots of sneezing and a pounding head. I gave in in the end and came away. I am just not worth being near!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Sea treasures

 Recently we went to Seaham to fossick for sea glass. I love to fossick. I love the sea. There is nothing like walking on a beach, be it squeaky white Aussie sand, coarse black volcanic sand in Japan, or good old pebbles, like parts of the UK. I was born beside Strangford Lough and lived part of my childhood beside the Irish Sea, so maybe that has something to do with my sea passion.

In Japan I fossicked for porcelain, little pieces of blue and white crockery that once had a place in someone's home.

Since visiting Whitley Bay I have collected sea glass. Then I heard about Seaham sea glass through Emma at Silver Pebble and saw a stunning necklace she made using it.

Recently we went to Seaham with Nancy - aka Supergran - and Juno. It was not as straightforward as we thought. Where to start? What direction to go in? Big J met a man who collects the glass. He gave us some tips and said that it is becoming more and more scarce now. He told me where I could look and after about 30 minutes I did find my own piece of coloured glass. Before that however, he gave me this dark one and I found the lighter one. I plan to go back. I loved it.

And this is the over all haul...

Saturday, 3 May 2014

It's here

and still in the box. Natual extinct is to rip the box open set it up and start sewing. BUT. I had a little meltdown. The things thing. Things all over with no place to go. Things on things, under things - THINGS. Poor Big J had to patiently listen to the woes and then helped me get proactive. As did the girls. So, we had a mahoosive clearout of the 'craft area'. This in fact tends to spread all over the house but mostly it lives in the conservatory. Big J took things to the tip and some went to charity. A good haul for fabric, needlework loving folk. The girls tidied up all the spools of thread and we turned FOUR button boxes into one button jar. All the yarn now has a basket to live in.
I then continued with the painting of the dresser. It is beginning to look nice and even. The bits that show any way. Once that is done and back in the dining room there will be even more conservatory space.
So the machine waits, patiently, while we prepare a nice new home for it.